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How to start a web design business

Updated on July 9, 2014
The first edition of the Brand Embassy website. using a modified theme from Theme Forest
The first edition of the Brand Embassy website. using a modified theme from Theme Forest

Web design business was tedious, but...

I am about to share with you a little secret which I personally used to create my own small business website and which can help you to start a web design business. I make most of my profit from using these tools and it has surely helped all the small businesses which I have created websites for too.

The great thing about this method is that you don’t need to be a tech geek or have any advanced skills of web page design to actually get into the business, all you have to do is have the right tools and know how to get your client to like your work.

It all came to me a few years ago when I realized that I was spending too much time designing websites and updating them because they didn’t have a back office or a content management system. It was hell tedious and a complete waste of time! Updating those websites was a monstrous job for what I earned, and I didn’t want it anymore. I simply didn’t have the time and resources necessary to do it, so I started to investigate technological opportunities within my own hosting provider, and to my astonishment I was losing out on a really great opportunity to start a web design business.

From then on, small business web design stopped being a game and became a full time business, which I have successfully branched into 2 different companies operating from Europe and South America.

How to create small business web design

Contrary to popular belief, creating a web design business isn’t that complicated at all. All you need to know is how to manage your time with the tools I list below, and how to manage your clients.

To create small business web design you will essentially need 2 things:

Dreamhost, where you can install Wordpress with a single click.
Dreamhost, where you can install Wordpress with a single click. | Source

1- A hosting service where you can manage your websites from, and which allows you to install your secret weapon; Wordpress.
Wordpress is a content management system which allows you to do virtually everything you need. Though you may be thinking that Wordpress is for blogging, it is in fact used for almost everything, from newspapers to online stores. It’s easy intuitive functions will allow you to take complete control of the websites you sell, of SEO and structure.

You should get hosting from Dreamhost, which allows you to have multiple domains on the same unlimited hosting plan (so you don’t have to pay for hosting for each website you create), and also allows you to easily install Wordpress on a domain with one simple click. Best thing about Dreamhost is you can get a full hosting for under $50.

Themeforest and it's easy to use interface. Over 4000 templates to choose from
Themeforest and it's easy to use interface. Over 4000 templates to choose from

2- Install Wordpress themes and edit from there.

After you have installed Wordpress from on your Dreamhost hosting, you can proceed to installing a fully customizable Wordpress Theme. You can get a Wordpress theme for an extremely low price, which comes with the design and the functions that you will need to impress your customer.

I recommend the templates at Themeforest for a few simple reasons: they are professionally designed, look amazing, and you can contact the theme designer directly, just in case you need any help. No other market can give you such a great service.

If you still haven’t signed up to this excellent marketplace, register at Themeforest now!

How to create a web design business

After reading the section on how to create small business web design, you may be wondering on the rest of the details such as design modifications. Well I guess that’s where the real fun begins. You can create new graphics and animations, or modify the existing ones so that anyone accessing your site won’t even know it’s a template.

You will also need graphic design tools to make your Wordpress template editing a whole lot easier. I recommend Adobe Photoshop or the free graphics manipulation program which everyone is talking about – GIMP.

After you get the website up and running, it’ll be much easier for you to update the websites by using Wordpress, then it’s all up to your client management and business management skills to take care of the start of a web design business.

The 4 important lessons you get when creating a web design business with this model are:

  1. If you don’t have the skills to code, then don’t do it. Just buy it done.
  2. Get a hosting service from Dreamhost which allows you to add multiple domains to your hosting account, not just 1 domain.
  3. If you don’t have the time to update complex websites, install Wordpress and make your life easier.
  4. Buy templates according to the project requirements.

4 Major facts about small business web design:

  1. People prefer and return to sites where they have a good online experience. that’s a combination of design and information;

  2. A website sells easier if it transmits credibility;

  3. Good websites allow interaction and with their audience;

  4. Return on investment when designing small business websites with the tools I just gave you can be huge!


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    • Gerhard Homveld profile image

      Gerhard Homveld 3 years ago from South Africa

      Great hub. I'd like to suggest a third step after "installing wordpress" - mentioning some vital Wordpress plugins like a Newsletter plugin could really compliment this excellent article :)

    • rogermac profile image

      Roger Mac 4 years ago from Cascais - Portugal

      You can of course add more tips and tools if you wish.. all you have to do is comment this article and I'll add them!